After a shortened 2021 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, Howard County boys lacrosse teams are ready to return to a sense of normalcy.
The shared opinion among coaches is that 2022 should be a competitive season with several contenders for the county title. Some of the top teams pointed to include Glenelg, Mt. Hebron, Marriotts Ridge, Howard and Centennial, each with several returning impact players.
The regular season will conclude on May 7; postseason seeding is scheduled for May 9. Regional quarterfinals are scheduled to take place on May 11, with the semifinals on May 13 and the regional finals on May 16. State tournament quarterfinals begin May 18 with the semifinals on May 20 and 21. The state finals will take place May 24-26 at Loyola University’s Ridley Athletic Complex.
All the Howard County teams are split amongst the Class 3A East and 2A West Regions. Centennial, Howard, Marriotts Ridge and Mt. Hebron are in Class 3A East Region I. Atholton, Long Reach, Reservoir and River Hill are in 3A East Region II. Glenelg, Hammond, Oakland Mills and Wilde Lake are in 2A West Region I.
Here’s a look at the county teams ahead of the regular season beginning March 22.
Coach: Alex McCoy, fifth season
2021 record: 3-4
Top returning players: Seniors Daniel Gottwals (D) and Jared Segal (M); juniors Spencer Krasnick (A), Ryan Lee (M) and Mason Slusher (D).
On the field: The Raiders have veteran returning players both offensively and defensively. With that experience spread between both the midfield and attack, Atholton will look to improve on its 2021 regular season. Last season, Krasnick scored 17 goals and will look to build on that in 2021. Gottwals (17 GBs, 11 CTO) and Slusher (8 GBs, 7 CTO) were anchors defensively last season, causing a combined 18 turnovers and picking up 25 groundballs. One newcomer to watch for the Raiders is junior attackman Tuscan Mulinazzi who will look to provide further depth offensively.
Coach’s outlook: “The county will be competitive as always and with our first full schedule in 2 years it will be interesting to see how it shakes out. We will have to compete every day to put ourselves in a position to be successful. Our focus this year will be on ourselves and making progress with every opportunity.”
Coach: Gregg Smith, first season
2021 record: 4-4
Top returning players: Evan Dietrich (GK), Josh Flick (A), Colin Hilzerberger (D), Will Holland (LSM) and James MacLellan (M).
On the field: The Eagles will turn to Evan Dietrich in net after losing 2021 First Team All-County performer Alex Kauffman to graduation, as he posted 120 saves and a save percentage of 68%. Flick will headline Centennial’s offense in 2022, named second-team all-county last season. In addition to their returners, Centennial welcomes a trio of potential impact new players with attackman Cam Westlake, defender Will Cavey and Aiden Krawczyk.
Coach’s outlook: “We’ll have excellent senior leadership with many new faces and underclassmen filling in the gaps.”
Coach: Joshua Hatmaker, 19th season
2021 record: 8-2
Top returning players: Rocco Buscher (M), Nick Dalton (A), Zach Dubois (M), Michael Krohn (D) and Ryan Stanley (D).
On the field: The Gladiators lost a couple of last season’s key contributors with attackman Kevin Doughty who now plays at UMBC and fellow attackman Evan Whatley) and is now playing at RPI. In their absence, Dalton and Buscher will be expected to step up offensively. Buscher was named second team All-County in 2021, while Krohn is a key returner on defense also named second team All-County last season. Outside of the veterans, the Gladiators welcome in several new potential impact players including attackman Tim Iannarino and Jack Hampton offensively and Justin Quisenberry defensively. Glenelg also has a pair of goalies to watch in Blake Hunter and Zach Coughlin.
Coach’s outlook: “We are a mix of youth and experience, with great leadership from our older guys. The young guys are very talented and are coming along fast and will be contributors. Our guys with experience are leading the way.”
Coach: Danny Amacher, third season
2021 record: 0-5
Top returning players: Juniors Mason Abuelhawa (A), Sam Baldwin (D) and TJ Mann.
On the field: After an under .500 season in 2021, the Golden Bears are looking to mesh the returning and new players for the 2022 season. On defense, both Baldwin and Mann are hoping to be anchors on the backend with their veteran experience. Sophomore Nick Hager also provides added depth in the long stick midfield group for Hammond. Freshman Marcus Lee is another addition to that midfield group, hoping to contribute on both ends of the field.
Coach’s outlook: “I’m excited to work with this group of guys for this upcoming season. We have a large number of guys who are new to the sport, mixed in with a handful of more experienced players. We’re looking for these guys to find their love for the game and continue to improve as the season progresses.
Coach: Shea Conway, first season
2021 record: 4-5
Top returning players: Seniors Logan Boone (G), Nathan Boone and Will Stephanos (D).
On the field: The Lions lost 2021 first team All-County midfielder Max Bruno to graduation as well as second team All-County attackman Aidan Larsen. With those two gone, Howard will turn towards Nathan Boone to spearhead the offense. Stephanos will look to build on his 2021 production as a first team All-County performer causing 25 turnovers and securing 45 ground balls, both of which ranked top five in the county. Howard also adds a pair of potential impact juniors in midfielder Dominic Giangrosso and defender Grant Peffall.
Coach’s outlook: “Consistency from our returning starters will be really important to our overall success this season. As a coaching staff, we’re excited with the potential of our newcomers to varsity and guys who gained some experience last season.”
Coach: Frank Valenza, 22nd season
2021 record: 2-8
Top returning player: Senior Ben Scaggs (D).
On the field: Of its 25-player varsity roster, Long Reach returns six total players from last season’s team with Scaggs the lone returning starter. The Lightning have 18 players with no prior lacrosse experience, but playing other sports including soccer, football and wrestling. One of those new players to watch is sophomore midfielder Jajai Butler.
Coach’s outlook: “Just looking for the younger players to get better every practice and enjoy the game so that they return next season. Varsity outlook is to get better every day and be competitive.”
Coach: Thomas Minard, third season
2021 record: 9-2, lost in state semifinals to Urbana.
Top returning players: Seniors Topher Kennedy (A), Tyler Gladstone (GK) and Casey Pung (D).
On the field: The Mustangs lost long-stick midfielder and 2021 co-Howard County Player of the Year Quinn Kelley to graduation. However, Marriotts Ridge returns plenty of other experience on the backend with both Gladstone and Pung. Gladstone was named First Team All-County last season, totaling 67 saves primarily playing in the second half. Offensively, the Mustangs will lean on Kennedy and other seniors like midfielders Mac Clevenger and Charlie Burd as well as Ryan Kennan on attack.
Coach’s outlook: “Our team strength will be defense and goalie. I think we will be competitive in the county.”
Coach: Mike McCarthy, 16th season
2021 record: 4-4
Top returning players: Sr. Everett Armstead (GK), Gavin Fleck (M), Gianni Karam (A), Aaron Krafft (D), Jack Kettering (D), Andrew Magdar (D), Nick Machiran (M) and Peyton Oh (D); junior Rich Tangires (A).
On the field: The Vikings lost midfielder Cameron Stockenberg, 2021 Howard County Co-Player of the Year, now playing at UMBC. Despite that loss, Mt. Hebron returns a wealth of experience on both ends of the field headlined by Krafft, who was named second-team All-County last season. Fleck was also selected second team All-County thriving at the faceoff X. Beyond their returners, sophomores Maverick Smith and Kyle Ratta are expected to provide added depth and versatility in the midfield.
Coach’s outlook: “We have a great group of seniors who are looking forward to having their first full since season since their freshman year.”
Coach: Skip Darden, seventh season.
2021 record: 4-3
Top returning players: Seniors Mason Cowell (D), Nick Humphrey (M), Alex Tiley (D) and Aidan Wilkerson (LSM); juniors Aiden King (M) and Blake Nguyen (A).
On the field: The Scorpions are a young team but also return several experienced players. Oakland Mills lost leading scorer Tyler May (52 point, 38G, 14A), now playing at Division III Denison University. With his absence on attack, Oakland Mills will look to Nguyen and others to help fill that void. Defensively, both Tiley and Cowell are veterans that can help anchor the backend. A newcomer to keep an eye on is freshman midfielder Xavier Vereen, who can add further depth to that group.
Coach’s outlook: “Team enthusiasm is high as we approach this season. We are a young team and very athletic.”
Coach: Bryan Cole, 18th season.
2021 record: 4-3
Top returning players: Junior Joseph Schinner (A); Sophomores Graham Leary (M) and Kevin Sisk (D).
On the field: The Gators are a young team looking to many underclassmen for production. Schinner headlines the returners offensively, looking to spearhead Reservoir’s attack unit by the cage. Both Sisk and Leary give the Gators other foundational young pieces to build around. Two newcomers to keep an eye on are freshman goalie Nolan Baer and junior David Lewis. Both players will look to add to the Gators’ young corps.
Coach’s outlook: “We are a young team this season with a lot of potential. We will have to be in shape and ready to take on some of the county’s toughest opponents at the beginning of the season. We hope to compete in every game and get better as the season moves forward.”
Coach: Keith Gonsouland, 22nd season.
2021 record: 3-9
Top returning players: Seniors Wes Brunett (A), Liam Curtin (D), Will Gochar (M), Tyler Sutch (A) and Ethan Varani (M).
On the field: The Hawks are looking to rebound this season returning a plethora of veteran offensive players. Despite losing first team All-County selection Jack Burns to graduation, River Hill has a multitude of weapons to attack opposing defenses. Curtin should anchor the backend for the Hawks, looking to build on an impressive junior season.
Coach’s outlook: “We have a great group of seniors leading the way and we are looking to build on last season’s valuable game experience. I think we should be able to compete with the teams on our schedule.”
Coach: Anthony Bell, first season.
2021 record: 4-3
Top returning players: Seniors Trey Jenkins (LSM), Nate Jones (D), Jack Phelps (A) and Evan Robinson (M); junior Rowley Jackson (A); sophomore Lewis Collora (G).
On the field: The Wildecats will rely on their six seniors for veteran leadership and experience. Both Jones and Jenkins are expected to be anchors on the backend of Wilde Lake’s defense, while Phelps and Robinson bring experience to the offensive end. With a large percentage of underclassmen, the Wildecats are excited to welcome a trio of new sophomores to their midfielder group in Sam Phelps, Joey Facchiano and Myles Brown.
Coach’s outlook: “We have a good core of six seniors who we look to change the lacrosse culture at Wilde Lake. Our kids are working hard and buying into the system. We have a few injuries presently but that should make us a stronger team when the players start to return. We are excited for the opportunity to play against some quality opponents. We just want to compete and play a solid fast discipline game. We have 21 players with more than 50% being underclassmen.”